Stevia is a plant from the chrysanthemum family and a subgroup of the ragweed family. People do not realize that when it comes to stevia, the ones you grow at home are quite different from the ones you buy at the store. The grocery store stevia is, usually called Truvia or stevia, raw without including the stevia leaf, it is the most refined version of stevia that you would find as it is made from rebaudioside A or reb A. Reb-A is the highly refined form that is 200 times sweeter than normal sugar. These sweeteners are commonly known as novel sweeteners as they are a mixture of other sweeteners, including erythritol and dextrose.
Such grocery-bought stevia sometimes gets labeled as a “natural ingredient”, but it does not necessarily mean that they contain all-natural substances. In fact, the substances termed natural are often the most processed items found in the package. Many debates that such products should not be even considered natural to consume.
People have grown stevia leaves at home and consume them as per their requirements. On the other hand, reb A sweeteners are available in the form of powder, granules, and liquid for instant usage.
Let’s explore the stevia benefits and side effects in this article.
Benefits of Stevia
Following are some prominent benefits of stevia that people often admire:
1- Helps Control Diabetes
What excites most people is the ability of stevia to control and regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Stevia is considered the most ideal substitute for normal sugar for people who suffer from type1 and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, people who have a carbs-restricted diet also benefit from stevia as it gives them better control over their daily intake.
It is easy to use as it tastes just like normal sugar and does not change the texture and taste of the food. Stevia has stevioside that helps to break down the glucose particles in the colon rather than getting absorbed in the bloodstream.
2- Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
There are multiple glycosides in stevia that can help to relax blood vessels, aid in urination, and eliminate sodium from the body. It means that less stress is put on your body and your blood pressure is regulated. The cardiovascular functions operate smoothly and a drop-in blood pressure is observed.
3- Helps in Weight Loss
Stevia is significantly low in calories and 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. Consuming it as a substitute will definitely help to shed some pounds and regulate your body functions. It can help people to satisfy their sweet tooth without getting worried about the total calories and carbs intake.
4- Potential of being an Anticancer
The rich antioxidants found in stevia make it an ideal dietary supplement that has the potential of preventing multiple types of cancers, particularly pancreatic cancer. Experts have also found that stevia leaves extract to have a high degree of antioxidant activity. Moreover, these antioxidants are known to have antiaging prevention and include preventing cognitive malfunction and various heart diseases as well.
With all these benefits, stevia also has some side effects that may not be suitable for everyone.
Side Effects of Stevia
Following are some common side effects of stevia that people have reported:
1- Kidney Damage
Stevia can increase the speed and quantity of fluid excretion from your body. It can decrease the number of electrolytes rapidly and you may feel fatigued at all times. As the kidney is responsible for fluid secretion, it gets hit the most and may malfunction in the long-term usage of the product. On the contrary, some studies show that stevia may help prevent kidney damage, but it is debatable.
2- Gastrointestinal Problems
Some stevia products have sugar alcohols that may induce unpleasant symptoms. People have often reported the following problems when they consume stevia:
It may be because some people respond differently to stevia than others. For some, it is highly suited and they do not exhibit any side effects. On the other hand, some people have exhibited severe side effects that have disturbed their life quality.
On the contrary, some recent studies have also demonstrated that stevia can help improve gastrointestinal problems. However, more study is required for better validation.
3- Allergic Reaction
Some people have built hypersensitivities toward stevia products and had several allergic reactions. For this, FDA has listed all possible allergies that may happen as a result of consuming stevia. People can go through the list and know whether it suits them or not.
4- Low Blood Sugar
Stevia is known to regulate blood sugar levels, but long-term usage may cause low blood sugar or hypoglycemia in diabetic patients. However, it is a rare case that this occurs and studies have found that patients with abnormally low blood sugar levels may only suffer from this side effect.
More studies are still required to know the right validation.
5- Endocrine Disruption
Steviol glycosides are a type of steroids found in stevia. It may affect the hormones of the person consuming it. Some hormones are controlled by the endocrine system and consuming stevia may disrupt the operations. A study also found that when human sperms are disclosed to steviol, they experience a significant hike in progesterone production.
Why you should not use stevia?
Some people are at a higher risk of developing serious side effects than others from regular use of stevia. It is mainly because stevia can drastically lower blood sugars and blood pressure as it is a diuretic. The following factors emphasize why stevia is not a good product to use:
- Blood Pressure Conditions
- Liver Conditions
- Heart or Cardiovascular Conditions
- Kidney Conditions
- Hormonal Conditions
Because of these factors, experts discourage the use of stevia. It is always better to consult professionals for guidance. Book your appointment with the best skin specialist through Marham for more information